Ooey gooey homemade mac and cheese has met it’s match. Loaded with gorgeous green broccoli and topped with crispy bacon, this cheesy comfort food is ready to rock your face off.
For a food blogger, I’m a bit hopeless. No matter how hard I try to be inventive for you guys, I usually wind up making the same few meals for the pilot, chickpea, and myself. It varies season to season, but it’s essentially a lot of the same song and dance. When we buy broccoli, for instance, it’s usually with a set purpose in mind: as a dunker for ginger dressing and hummus, as the star of my soup, and to pimp my pizza.
Today I got sassy. It’s been far too long since I’ve made mac and cheese and the craving hit me like a mac truck.
Well, technically a mack truck full of mac, but in my book that makes it a mac truck. Tomatoes tomahhhhtoes.
Bacon Broccoli Mac and Cheese
The second the pairing hopped into my head there was no stopping it. It had to be done. It may be Spring but gosh darn it, it’s chilly here in NC and comfort food is on the menu! With side salads of course, because, veggies.
Let’s talk about mac and cheese. Lets talk about you and me. Let’s talk about all the broccoli and the bacon that may be…
All cheesiness aside, you need more cheese in your life. Make this.
12 minPrep Time
23 minCook Time
35 minTotal Time
- 3-4 slices of bacon, cooked
- 5-6 ounces freshly grated cheddar cheese [see below]
- 3 cups broccoli florets, steamed or blanched
- 8 oz pasta [measured by weight]
- 1/4 cup [1/2 stick] unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 cups whole milk, room temperature
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired
- sauce adapted from That Which Nourishes
- crazy for cheese? You can add a little extra on top before baking and even try a buttery breadcrumb, panko, or cracker crust if you'd like! Have fun with it! I made mine with a mixture of sharp white and medium cheddar cheese but love adding gouda to my mac and cheese as well. Gouda and cheddar are a match made in heaven! I highly suggest using a good quality brick or wedge of cheese and grating it yourself, the flavor and texture will be spot-on this way!
- Pre-heat oven to 350
- Next measure out all your ingredients, chop your broccoli and grate your cheeses.
- Boil pasta per package instructions [times will vary a smidge by brand/shape] until al dente. Drain and set aside once done.
- While the pasta cooks, start your sauce and your broccoli.
- Cook broccoli via your favorite method. I'm a big fan of quickly blanching broccoli in hot water until the florets are bright green and tender.
- For the sauce, melt 1/2 stick of butter [1/4 cup] over medium heat.
- Add flour and whisk constantly while the flour cooks off into a roux, approx. 3 minutes.
- Next season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. [add extra to taste]
- Slowly pour in your milk, whisking constantly until smooth and fully incorporated. Remove from heat. Sauce will thicken as it rests.
- Add pasta and broccoli florets to a 9-inch baking dish [or larger]
- Sprinkle 5-6 ounces of freshly grated cheese on top of the pasta.
- Pour your cream sauce over the noodles and cheese and use a rubber spatula to fold it all together. Feel free to top with a little extra cheese if you'd like, then top with bacon.
- Bake on center rack at 350 F for 20 minutes until hot and bubbly.
My favorite method for cooking bacon is to bake it vs frying. Though it can also be microwaved if you prefer the speediest of methods! In case you want to try the oven method, here’s how I incorporate baked bacon into this recipe:
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and top with 3 [or more!] slices of bacon. Set oven to 400 degrees F and place on center rack. Set timer for 20 minutes. That’s it! After the bacon is done, flip your oven temp to 350 F for the mac and cheese to bake in. Alternatively you can fry bacon in a skillet if preferred, this baking method is very hands-off and rocks my socks!
I couldn’t resist a good action shot. Get saucy!
so… how was it!?
So. Flipping. Good. I want to swim in it. Is that possible? No? Fine, I’ll settle for having this on repeat year-round. This compromise thing is easy! Combining sinfully delicious melty mac and cheese with crispy bacon may be naughty but adding broccoli makes it oh-so-nice. I’m pretty sure the whole dish is classified as a veggie now. It’s science.
Don’t quote me on that. Just smile, nod, and grab your fork!
On second thought, grab two!
It’s easy, cheesy, and oh so dreamy!
and if by some miracle you’re still hungry…